Sick Of It All are one of the longest running and most well respected hardcore bands. The last time they played Ireland was September 1999, in the Music Centre, a venue with a barricade, a high stage and too much security, and with hundreds of drunken school kids having just gotten their exam results falling around drunk outside!!
Now seven years later they are back on our shores, playing a nice small venue with no security and no barricades, and not a drunken kid in sight, well not an exam result in sight anyway! Before they took the place down Gar (20 Bulls Each) grabbed Lou (vocalist) for a little interrogation, on all things SOIA.
First things first, you played Belfast last night, how was that?
It was pretty good, everybody was telling us how crazy it was going to be. We played in a club that had alot of fuckin rules, alot of barricades, it wasn’t what we expected, everybody told us it was going to be completely insane, but I mean the crowd was good, it was fun. It was a Wednesday night but yeah the crowd was fun.
“Death to Tyrants” is more of a throwback to your earlier stuff, its more aggressive, its got more of an edge. Was that a conscious decision?
We’ve always written aggressive stuff but we’ve tried different stuff with it, like “Call to Arms” has some heavy songs but the production is very raw and punk. “Yours Truely” we thought about tuning down, but everybody was tuning down so we tried to be different. Which could have been a bad move on our part. So we just decided to do what we do best and that’s just write hardcore.
And it seems to be a bit more political than your previous records, is it just something that needs to be said.
Its because of all the shit that has been happening since September 11th 2001, we’ve been living with it, we touched on it on “Life On The Ropes” a little bit but just the more delve into all that’s going on, what’s being going on in the States, we just needed somewhere to let lose. That’s where it all came from.
So this is your 20th anniversary, how did you get to here?
We started out and we just wanted to play CBGBs and that was our dream, then we played it, and then we headlined it and from there it just snowballed. We started playing, people started calling us up to do a show in DC or in Boston or something like that, and it just kept going from there.
You’ve had a solid line-up for a long time, what’s your secret?!
We never let anything get in the way, we never have big arguments. Any disagreements just usually get squashed straight away. There’s no egos in the band.
How’s the new label treating you?
Oh, I love it here in Europe, Century Media is killing over here, Abacus is doing a good job in the states, we’re having a little communication problem but so far everything has been good. We’re just trying to get things right on track in the states, but people here in Europe have been killing they’ve been doing an amazing job. But its hard, the years we spent on Fat Wreckords wasn‚Äôt very high profile, they kind off blew it in Europe for us, we could play somewhere in Germany and 2,000 people would turn up but we’d only sell 100 records in that city and it’d be ridiculous. So now we have to go back and regain the people to buy the records.
You got Tue Madsen into produce, how did that work out?
It was great, actually Zuess who did the last Madball record was supposed to do it but we were having scheduling problems and he saidwell I gotta go forward and do other stuff, so fine we understand that, but Tue, he called up and he goes I’d drop whatever I’m doing we you guys need me. So when we needed him we called him up and he flew to New York and he was great.
I was talking to Danny there a while back and he said you were in with him doing demoing.
Yeah for this record, that was one of the smartest things we ever did, because we’d never done that before, we never demoed for a record and it was good. We demoed and then just decided to sit on the tapes for two weeks and then listen to them and decide what needed to be changed. Hanging out with Danny was great because we hadn’t seen him in long time.
Is that something any of you guys would want to do in the future, open a studio, get into recording, production?
Well we all do stuff like that, helping out on albums, Pete and Craig helped out this band Ironbound, its they’re members of the band, but they’re not really, they just went in there and wrote songs with them and helped them with the production, it was very generic. Armand is very good at producing, so stuff like that.
This will be your fifth date on the Euro tour, so how’s it going?
We played three festivals in Germany that were all for free, they were run by the local youth council, and each one got bigger an bigger and the last one we played was amazing, there was over 10,000 it was amazing, they were good.
Do you prefer playing festivals or smaller places, I don’t know why the gig is on here, I thought you’d be playing somewhere bigger?
To be honest I like them both, you have a lot of people saying oh i like the smaller ones, but i like them both. I like the big shows if you can get rid of the barricades, but of course at a festival you’re going to need them. I like venues like this, but last night in Belfast they had a barricade for absolutely no reason, they didn’t need it, and they had a wall of security. And we offered to play the same club we played the first time we were in Dublin, but they said if we play there, there has to be barricades and there has to be security. And then they said you can play here, its a smaller venue but no barricade, and we were like, hell yeah. It makes it more fun.
What kind of stuff do you listen to, do you get a pain your ass from heavy stuff?
I listen to a whole bunch of difference stuff, recently my favourite is the last Sepultura record, i fuckin love it, its great. Its a shame that a lot of people that are into metal look at Sepultura as like pass√©, but their new album is amazing. The last Madball, haha I always draw a blank on questions like this. I like a variety of stuff, I listen to all different things. I don’t listen to pop bands, its not my style, people ask me what I think of Fall Out Boy, this band has nothing to do with me, they might of come out of a hardcore scene or liked hardcore at one point but it really has nothing to do with my life.
Something I want to ask you, Emo, I know everyone is talking shit now about Emo, do you hold any resentment that it has blown up so much recently?
Not really, only for the fans of it that don’t like anything but that style, but its kinda like when I think back to when I was really young and when I got into certain styles like the Cro-Mags, I wanted to hear hard aggressive and that’s like these people but in a different way. It took me a couple of years before I opened my mind to everything, so like I said I don’t hold any resentment to any of those bands. Its funny when we meet some of these bands, like Fall Out Boy, or Dashboard Confessional they’ve all said to me that Sick Of It All has been a huge influence to us in my growing up, I just think its funny.
You were supposed to be over here a few months ago but went on a big tour in the States with the
Dropkick Murphy’s, is that something you were told to do.
No, it was a scheduling conflict, we were going to go to Europe, but then the Dropkicks us did we want to go on tour with them. To tour with someone like the Dropkicks in the States is a great opportunity, especially for us because the Dropkicks not only draw a young crowd, the Warped Tour crowd, but they have an older hardcore crowd that doesn’t go to hardcore shows anymore because they want to deal with the violence or whatever, so its perfect for us, we get up there and play and all these old fans are like holy shit its Sick Of It All and they get excited and they buy the new CD, so its good.
Well that’s the end of it, thanks very much for your time.
Remainder of Death to Tyrants Euro Tour
June 11 2006
Castle Donington, UK
July 14 2006
July 15 2006
Sao Paolo, Brazil
July 16 2006
Sao Paolo, Brazil
August 4 2006
Zone 52 Festival
August 5 2006
August 10 2006
August 11 2006
Brutal Assault Festival
Svojsice u Prelouce, Czech Republic
August 12 2006
Salwedel Open Air
August 13 2006
August 17 2006
August 18 2006
Festival Des Z’ecclectiques
St Macaire, France
August 19 2006
Radio Onda D’Urto City